Hello, friends, and happy Monday! We are officially kicking off ¨Get-through-your-Monday Girl Time¨ (a mouthful, yes, but oh so comforting!) with an interview from one of my favorite SuperMoms, Becky. Becky and her husband serve as missionaries in South America, not too far from us, and when we manage to get together with our kiddos it is, as my husband would say, ¨Super-hyper-mega¨ Girl Time! I thought it would be fitting to start off our weekly cyber girl time by sharing one of my best girl time friends with all of you! (I will need her back though.) Becky´s story is one of struggle and difficulty but also of hope and perseverance, and the grace we can find in God through our circumstances. Enjoy!
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you?
My name is Becky and I am a special needs mom. Although I have loved each of my children profoundly, my life as a mother has been difficult. If there is any heartache in your story, then perhaps you’ll relate to mine.
Tell us about your family.
I have been married for eleven years. I was born in the United States, but grew up overseas with one older brother and missionary parents. My husband is from South America.
How many children do you have, and what are their ages?
When I’m out and about, I often get asked about my two-year old son, “Is he your only child?” For simplicity, I usually say yes, but the answer is actually no. My first daughter, SB, was born in 2005, came to us in 2006, and died in 2007. She had severe special needs, but we loved her utterly and completely. Just before SB died, we took in two foster daughters, who were later adopted by another family. So CM is my first biological son, but not my first child.
In what ways have you changed since you became a mother?
I sleep a lot less.
Describe a memory of your first weeks of motherhood that stands out to you.
The Lord has not seen fit to give me any easy children, so my first weeks were mostly full of doubt and frustration, seasoned with random moments of grace. Each of my children’s stories, and how they touched my life, is so complex - full of light, wonder, anger, and anguish - that to only mention our rough beginnings would not do any of us justice.
Instead of responding to most of the questions individually, I would like to share parts of our stories and I think the answers will be found along the way.
SB was born with severe brain damage, but I didn’t know this when I fell in love with her at an orphanage. I fought two governments and innumerable battles to get custody of her, and only ultimately succeeded with a lot of divine intervention. Looking back, how much of it was God, and how much of it was my own need to be needed… I don’t know. But as Prov. 10:12 says, “…love covers all sins.” That is the verse I hold onto when I think of being SB’s mother.
Life with SB was all-consuming. I felt overwhelmed with her every single day. She needed to eat every two hours, but she would often throw up which meant we would have to start all over. It took a special knack, lots of time, and incredible patience to feed her or give her a bottle. She only slept for four hours total a day (with medication), and if we ever put her down, she would go into convulsions. My husband and I took turns holding her 20/7. I would stay up with her until 1 am, and then my husband would get up with her around 5 pm, or earlier on a bad night. When holding her, we lived in an office chair that swiveled, because for the motion and frequently changing how we held her, kept her from going into convulsions.
But this is not who she was. She was our first child, a miracle. She loved us, cried if someone else held her, and was glad every day when her daddy came home from work. Her life was an unforgettable testimony of love.
How was she different from me? She was black and completely blind.
What do I regret? Not being there when she died. Although it’s a short sentence, it contains a world of grief.
Favorite memory? The day my husband taught her to give kisses.
Children #2 and #3
A month before SB’s unexpected death, an orphanage that was closing contacted us and asked if we’d be willing to care for two sibling girls (2.5 and 3.5) until they were adopted. Since we were already caring for SB (which we expected to be a lifelong commitment), we thought, “Sure, why not two more?” They had severe attachment issues, but we worked through many things and love began to grow.
Unfortunately, while they lived with us, my personal life was falling apart (due to various older issues that came to light at the same time). I felt that I could not offer them a permanent stable home, so even though I wanted to, I did not pursue adoption when they were first placed with us. After a year and a half, things got much worse in my life and to save my marriage, I felt that I had to give them up. With a heavy heart, I made arrangements for them to go and live with someone else. I didn’t realize how deeply I loved them until after they left for school that final day and never came home. What did I tell them those last days? I don’t remember, but whatever it was, it wasn’t enough.
Slowly I began to find healing, and I prayed as never before that the girls would be returned to me. When I finally pursued it with my husband’s blessing, I was told that they were no longer available to us. They were adopted 8 months after we gave them up by a family in the United States. This family has chosen to have zero contact with us. The grief I feel over their loss is ongoing, compounded by feelings of guilt and regret for all of the things I wished I’d done differently. My biggest regret is giving them up.
I pray that somehow, there will be more to our story and that one day I will see them again. The verse I hold on to for them is Isaiah 61:7, “Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs.”
Favorite memories? Doing their hair in the mornings, holding their small hands as we walked along, and hearing them call me Mami.
My son, CM, was born in 2009, three months after the girls were adopted. He was a very colicky baby, intense and determined from the moment he was born. It took us 3 months to work out our nursing problems, and to this day he’s still not a good sleeper. In our journey to figure out why everything tends to be complicated with him, so far we’ve come up with sensory processing disorder (SPD) and food allergies (dairy, corn, and wheat). I am very thankful for everything I learned with SB and the girls, because I have used it all and more with CM.
But as with SB, CM’s challenges do not define who he is, nor lessen our love for him. He is an amazing little guy, full of energy, curiosity, and affection. I call him my buddy, and he has been such a blessing to me. His verse is Isaiah 60:22, “A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation…” because I am convinced that I am raising a future leader. With his incredible focus and force of will, I believe he’ll dominate whatever field he chooses to pursue. I tell him, “You’re a little prince, and someday you’ll grow up to be king.” I tell myself on the hard days, what if I knew for sure I was raising the next president, CEO, or father of a family, what would I teach him and how would I act? He hasn’t lost any of his intensity, but I am trying to channel it into compassion, wisdom, courage, and self-control.
Favorite memory? I have a little rhyme I say to him, “I love you when you’re good and I love you when you’re bad, I love you when you’re happy and I love you when you’re sad, I love you when you’re angry and I love you when you’re mad. I love you all the time, no matter what.” The other day, he started saying it back to me, but only got, “I love you when you’re bad, I love you when you’re happy, I love you all the time.” Then he went around saying, “I love you all the time,” several times that afternoon. None of my first three children ever said they loved me, even though I believe they each did in their own way. So after doing the mom thing for 5 years, it was nice to finally hear it.
Despite everything, as time passed I began to want another child (adopted or biological), but I was no longer sure if we could handle more. One day in February when things were looking particularly hopeless, I felt a quiet voice in my spirit say to me, “By this time next year, you will have a baby.” And like Sarah, I laughed. It seemed the furthest thing from possible; we could barely stay afloat some days just caring for CM. But as I did my devotions over the next few weeks, it kept coming up, a quiet impression on my mind as I read about Samson’s mother and Hannah.
At the end of May two home pregnancy tests said I wasn’t pregnant, but a certain expected event still didn’t happen, so I decided to get a blood test done to know once and for all. It was positive! For many reasons that I cannot really explain, this baby is such a miracle and a sign of grace from God. It was no surprise to me that he/she is due early in February. My prayer for this child is, “Please, Lord, may I have an easy one, just once?”
What do you think is the most important quality in a mother? What do you think children need most from their mothers?
What my children have needed the most has been love, shown through perseverance, patience, creativity, selflessness, and consistency.
What has been the hardest experience you have gone through as a mother? What did that experience teach you?
Death and loss. I’ve learned that some things will not be completely healed until heaven.
What are your favorite ways to relax when you need a little break?
Reading, a hot shower, and blogging at adventuresandtrials.blogspot.com
What advice would you give to other mothers out there who are reading this interview?
Please be compassionate instead of judgmental, as we all have battles to fight. We are all villains and heroines at some point in the tale.